Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Anti Internment League

The Anti Internment League is an alliance of dissident republican groups including members of Erigi, Republican Network for Unity and the 1916 Societies.
It held its first march through the centre of Belfast in 2013 and the organiser was Dee Fennell, a dissident republican from Ardoyne who is a member of the 1916 Societies and spokesman for the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective, the dissidents' 'residents group'..
This year the organisers stated that they expected 5,000 participants, 4,000 supporters and 14 bands. They intend to start at Ardoyne Avenue and then make their way down the Cliftonville Road through the New Lodge Road and North Queen Street to Royal Avenue and then up Castle Street, Divis Street and Falls Road to Dunville Park.
The Parades Commission has approved the march but with the restriction that it must be past Millfield and away from the city centre before 1.30 pm.  However the Anti-Internment League have stated that they will only leave Ardoyne at 2.30, so there is no way they can make the 1.30 deadline - barring time travel!
When the determination was announced UTV contacted the organisers for an interview they said they would not put forward a spokesman in protest at the strict bail conditions on their chair, Dee Fennell. 

These conditions were imposed on Fennell after he was changed with encouraging terrorism ad inviting support for a proscribed organisation.  The charge related to a speech given by Fennell in Lurgan on Easter Sunday.  The event at which he was speaking had been organised by the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association and the bail conditions included a ban on public speeches.
However the Anti-Internment League issued a statement on social media condemning the restriction on timing, stating that they would break the determination and threatening the PSNI and the Army: 'The Anti Internment League ask all republicans, nationalists and human rights advocates to join with us at Ardoyne Avenue at 2pm on Sunday 9th August.  The days of 'croppy lie down' are over, let the State militia of the PSNI and British Army try to stop us.'

This morning I was on the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster about this and the other contributor was the Erigi spokesman in Belfast Patrick McCotter, otherwise known as Paddy MCotter or Padraic Mac Coitir, who was speaking in support of the Anti-Internment League march.

He was for many years a member of the Provisional IRA and according to The Independent (11 September 1994) he was jailed for 20 years for involvement in a gun battle with the police. His brothers Liam and Sean also served prison sentences for IRA-related terrorist offences and his uncle Seamus Twomey was twice chief of staff of the Provisional IRA.

Back in 2004, while McCotter was still within the Sinn Fein fold he was associated with the launch of An Phoblacht (30 October 2004) explained that the name of the club was taken from the writings of hunger striker Bobby Sands.
a new GAA club in Twinbrook, Cumann na Fuiseoige.  He chaired the proceedings to launch the club and Gerry Adams was the speaker, while Miceal Greenan, chairman of the Ulster Council of the GAA, officially launched the club.  Subsequently, an article in

By 2014 McCotter was a member of Erigi and stood in the Blackmountain area of West Belfast in the local government elections.  He had been expected to gain a seat but performed badly.

During the interview this morning McCotter was pressed by Stephen Nolan to condemn the murders of soldiers and other acts of terrorism but of course he refused to do so.  His contribution was nauseating and exposed once again the true nature of Erigi and other dissident republicans.

So tomorrow I will meet senior PSNI officers, along with my colleague William Humphrey, to press them on how they intend to police the weekend parade.  They got it badly wrong in Londonderry and we must hope they have learned some lessons.

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